What is purity? To be pure has a context for someone that is burnt out on an abusive, authoritarian setting as as some kind of an impossible measure to walk in. The response to that word is to either water down any solid definition of purity and/or to deny that is worth trying for.
But if we feel like we have really missed the mark of being pure, then enough shame could come in that makes one ask, “Why try when I have gone this far away from whatever purity means to me?” In my case as a social worker, a tool in my tool kit for counseling is seeing where the client sees themselves as “good enough” and where that answer leads them. From there it can hopefully be good detective work with them of finding where grace can lead them to knowing what it is to have the dirt of their bad choices has come in. The better the process of this, the more likely they are not going to return to their drug of choice. That is the hope.
But there is another process that leads to and through purity and it is shown to us by Jesus.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
But the mark of getting to that point is seeing God. But if one gets to that point, how would they drink in the sight of God? What would God look like? To have a good guess of what that step of purity would be like, one should understand that since it is built on the prior beatitudes we have been looking at of Jesus then the prior natures expressed therein bleed into an experience of the purity of God.
So here they are in review.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Starting in simplicity.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Moving on in brokenness and humility before God.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Next moving on in humility before humanity.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Moving on with being receptive and collaborative with God.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Forgiving others just as God forgives you.
I would submit that if you feel that you have achieved purity but deny or are indifferent to the necessity of these characteristics above, then purity is not in your life. Perhaps you have abstained from an impure action, but the Pharisees had some kind of bragging rights on that while they still opposed Jesus. This is what Paul spoke of for those who “have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). But for one would leans into those that are above, there is a place to see God and see at least in part how God sees the world and all its brokenness and how wholeness to it can still happen.
Working off even more deeper, here are things one can contemplate in a purity that is rooted in the gospel.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The spiritual richness to be experienced in devotion to Jesus.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Knowing Jesus in the fellowship of His sufferings.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Rightly perceiving an incarnational reflection of Jesus in your greatest enemy, the lowest leper or both.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Rightly perceiving the righteousness of God in Christ and communing of Him directly by His Holy Spirit and particularly in the context of communion.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Perceiving rightly where to bless others as such an end in itself that you define it as who you are.
Oh, but darn it! I forgot to divvy up the rules! I forgot to say how much alcohol is too much. I forgot to write about the correct political party to vote for. I forgot to say how one should dress or what books to not read.
But no I did not. When we are lost by too many daily tangibles and controversies, we lose focus that it comes down to God’s grace in drawing us to purity. I leave you with an example of the lavers in the time of Moses. There were exact measurements of so many things in the Tent of Meeting where there was sacrifice and fellowship with God. But measurements were missing for the lavers that the priests used to wash their hands and feet before their priestly service. Why? Because God knew that when you get lost on the secondaries of behavior like my silly rant, you lose focus on the power of God’s grace to renew or retain purity in our lives. What is stopping us?